Early Summer Shows Offer Art in Chicago, Evanston and Wisconsin



If you've made it outside today, you may finally believe that summer is coming, and with it is the new season of art. This Friday night, May 31 and Saturday, June 1, new solo shows open around Chicago – in West Town and the West Loop – plus several in Evanston for the annual Evanston Made, as well as a handful in Wisconsin if you're looking for a weekend trip. 

A handful of local art fairs are also happening this weekend and next. 

The highlights are listed below, and our full calendar may be viewed here

Have a plastic glass of wine on us, and pick up a copy of the summer issue of CGN in galleries now. 

Happy (finally!) summer! 


• Chicago Openings



Derrick Adams – The Ins and Outs: Figures in the Urban Landscape

Opening: Friday, May 31, 2019 5–7:30 pm (West Town)

Rhona Hoffman Gallery

The gallery’s third solo exhibition with Brooklyn-based artist Derrick Adams speaks to a legacy of perseverance in the Black community. Adams’ new paintings unfold the twists and turns, joys and struggles of navigating life in an urban context.

A continuation of Adams’Deconstruction Worker series (2010–), the constructed portraits depict the everyday with a style drawn from Modernism and the idealized and exaggerated forms of traditional African sculpture, also taking inspiration from contemporary pop culture and vernacular scenes from the artist’s life. Rendered in a cubist style, the subjects are framed by abstracted city streets on which miniature model automobiles break free of the two-dimensional plane. The city grid speaks to the paradox of movement and progress—both individual and collective—within the confines of existing paths. Whether posed or caught in motion, the subjects are surrounded by an environment that adjusts to accommodate each individual. For Adams, the works suggest that “we are who we are because our presence is strong enough to also inform the spaces we occupy.”



Aerosol Kingdom

Opening: Saturday, Jun 1, 2019 6 – 10 pm (West Town)

Chicago Truborn

Internationally recognized muralist and animal enthusiast, Justin Suarez, returns to Chicago for his second solo show with Chicago Truborn. Aerosol Kingdom features 100 repurposed aerosol cans featuring extremely detailed hand cut stencil animal portraits. From birds of prey, to sea creatures, to the majestic beings of the African Sahara - animals of all shapes and sizes will be represented here. And, while the cans will be the main focus of the show, new hand painted canvas works available as well. The combination of stencil work and free handed brush painting has taken the level of detail in Justin's work far beyond what you’ve seen from him in the past. This show will range in size and price as to accommodate collectors of all levels.



Zach Schrey: What's Up Doc

Opening: Saturday, June 1, 2019 6–9 pm (West Town)

Line Dot Editions

Zach Schrey is a Chicago-based artist and printmaker/co-owner of Pop!nk Editions. Rooted in contemporary urban culture, Schrey creates an alternate world of characters and designs that remind us of the everyday, yet have an instant presence because of their bold, clean aesthetic. Influenced by the ubiquitous imagery of cartoons, comics, and corporate logos/brands, Schrey’s work collectively pokes fun at these cultural icons, heightening our awareness of their superficiality and constant presence in our lives. His paintings and prints have been shown throughout the US and abroad.



Inka Essenhigh

Opening: Saturday, June 1, 2019 4–6 pm (West Loop)

Kavi Gupta Gallery

Inka Essenhigh (b. 1969, Pennsylvania, US) is renowned for her dreamlike paintings, which translate her encounters with, and intuitions about, contemporary society into haunting, playful, sometimes disturbing visual scenes. Essenhigh is part of a generation of artists that includes Rachel Feinstein, Lisa Yuskavage and Cecily Brown, that rose to prominence in 1990s New York as leaders in the contemporary return to figuration.

Essenhigh employs a mix of automatism, imagination and “inner vision” to translate the visible world into arabesque enamel paintings that reveal the unseen worlds of energy, feeling, and mystery that lurk just beyond everyday life. The lush, mysterious images she creates arise from a diverse range of influences, including High Renaissance painting, 19th Century French cabaret, and the whimsy and instinct of childhood imagination.



William Counter: Simple Spells

Opening Friday, May 31, 2019 7–10 pm (Bucktown)

Firecat Projects

Firecat Projects presents Simple Spells, a one-person exhibition featuring the works of Kansas artist William Counter.

Media theorist Dick Hebdige identifies an individual as a bricoleur when they ‘appropriate another range of commodities by placing them in a symbolic ensemble which serve to erase or subvert their original straight meanings.’

Simple Spells is a visual example of bricolage, where the artist has collected common objects – yardsticks and advertisement flyers – and utilized them to facilitate a vision based on ‘magical thinking’. This is Outsider art where the objects themselves are to be experienced through their talismanic value and numinous qualities.


• Evanston Openings


Verna Todd: Consider the Lilies

Opening Reception: Saturday, June 1, 5-7 pm

Perspective Gallery

Choosing a lily as the subject for her series Consider the Lilies was tough for Verna Todd. She is forever on the artist’s quest to show people something they have never seen before. Something new. "A lily is just too common," she reasoned, "everyone has grown an amaryllis; or, at least seen boxes of them stacked in stores."

Yet she relates that a crimson amaryllis given her by a friend insisted on being photographed. “Morning, noon and night, it shamed me for not getting out my camera.”  Resentfully, she gave in.

That’s when the lily took Todd to another place, a quiet place where she could simply enjoy its presence. She relates that her tussle with the amaryllis is like ones she encounters often – doing versus being.


Evanston Made

Opening Reception: Friday, June 31, 6-9 pm

Evanston Art Center

The Evanston Art Center will partner with Evanston Made, a month-long, annual celebration, in June, of the arts in Evanston designed to create opportunities for artists to engage with the community. The exhibition at EAC will feature works from local Evanston artists and celebrate the Evanston arts community. Throughout the month of June, studios, galleries, museums, workshops and businesses open their doors to showcase works (artistic, artisanal, etc.) and host events by Evanston creatives.

Also happening at Evanston Art Center and produced by Anomaly Productions, a Pop-Up Gallery and Store at the art center is an "all-inclusive" event, located in the lobby May 31 - June 30.



Janice Wgciechowski: Serene Watercolor Collection, and Meet the Artists Event for Evanston Made

Saturday June 1st, 12-5pm and 5-7pm

Ice House Gallery

Meet the Gallery's Resident Artists: Ann Andrews, Valerie Kahan, Meredith Kopelman, Laurie Kwo, & Dana Phillips. The gallery is participating in Evanston Made’s Annual Artist Studio Tour, a self-guided tour of studios in Evanston, June 1, 2019 from 12-5pm and in the fall on October 19, 2019.

Janice Wgciechowski is this month's featured artist and a reception for her new show, Serene Watercolor Collection, opens the same evening from 5-7pm.





Passion and Process

Friday, June 1, 2019 12–8 pm

Space 900

Passion and Process, is an exhibition that showcases the unique processes and visions of Space 900's core members. Together, members will be creating a window installation that highlights artist's individual mediums and techniques, along with exhibiting  art for Evanston Made. Show Participants: Todd Anderson, Ken Avick, Colleen Conley, Clark Ellithorpe, Judith Roston-Freilich, Jill King, Joanna Pinsky, Judy Solomon

Artist Talk: 11am, June 1, led by Joanna Pinsky

Opening, during Evanston Made: June 1st, 2019, 12 to 8pm


• Wisconsin Openings



Among the Wonders of the Dells: Photography, Place, Tourism

Opening: Saturday, Jun 1, 2019 2–5 pm (West Bend, WI)

Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA)

Among the Wonders of the Dells explores the emergence and transformation of the Wisconsin Dells into what is today the single-most important tourist destination in Wisconsin. The exhibition and its 192-page catalog will include photographs by LeRoy Gates, the first photographer of the Dells, H.H. Bennett, the great nineteenth-century photographer touted as “the man who made the Wisconsin Dells famous,” Oliver Reese, John A. Trumble, who documented the Dells’ postwar tourist boom in the twentieth century, Dennis Darmek, and three contemporary Wisconsin photographers commissioned by MOWA to spend a year photographing the Dells from their unique perspectives. 



Leila Knapp: Juxtaposition

Opening: Saturday, Jun 1, 2019 4:30 – 7:30 pm (Mineral Point, WI)

Sugar Row Gallery

Images of Leila Knapp's work will be placed side by side for artistic consideration. 



Sandra Peterson, New Work

Opening: Saturday, Jun 1, 2019 5-8pm (Mineral Point, WI)


New work will be on view by this artist who applies distinct, large brush strokes to her canvas. The gallery is a neighbor of Sugar Row, which is also having an opening the same evening. Both spaces are located in the idyllic artist colony of Mineral Point, Wisconsin, just north of Galena and southwest of Madison. Wantoot Gallery is the showroom of, which features a highly curated group of American modern fine art and fine craft from many nationally-recognized artists.